The most Popular Posts of the past seven days.

Apr 3, 2020

Morning N.Y. Times Headline


Coronavirus Live Updates: Half of Humanity Under Lockdown Orders

Roughly four billion people have been told to stay in their homes, but some U.S. states have resisted such measures.

And that includes Alabama........ 


RIP---------Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine

Apr 2, 2020

We're Surrounded by Statewide Stay-in-Place Order States...

....but Alabama is not one of them.

     The Governors of Tennessee Georgia Mississippi and Florida...though Georgia's Governor just announced that decision, saying he didn't know till the last 24 hours that asymptomatic people can infect others.

     Watch this exchange on CNN about that statement from Governor Brian Kemp.

     As for Alabama, the Governor insists now is not the time for a statewide stay at home order. She did however issue a series of other emergency orders involving meetings of public boards and agencies and other matters.

Alabama U.S. Senate Race

     The Trump campaign makes it clear. Not only is Trump not endorsing Jeff Sessions in the runoff...he doesn't even want Session  taking about how much he supports Trump!

     From the N.Y. Times story, which quotes a letter from the Trump campaign COO:

“The enclosed letter and donor form in fact mention President Trump by name 22 times. The letter even makes the delusional assertion that you are President ‘Trump’s #1 supporter,’” Mr. (Michael) Glassner wrote.
“We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump’s loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the president supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary runoff election. Nothing could be further from the truth.”


     Sessions faces Tommy Tubberville in the delayed runoff.

Engineer Arrested For Derailing Train Near USNS Mercy, Claimed Hospital ...

150 years ago today, A Woman Runs for President

Victoria Woodhull announced her candidacy for President on April 2, 1870, in a New York Herald column, writing...
 “I claim the right to speak for the unenfranchised women of the country … I now announce myself as a candidate for the presidency."

     She was way ahead of the curve. She was too young to serve as president, even if she had won, and couldn't even vote for herself, because the 19th Amendment, freeing women to vote, wouldn't be approved till August 18, 1920. 

     But she announced her candidacy anyway, and was immediately blasted as a demon..."Mrs. Satan" as she was portrayed in a Thomas Nast political cartoon in 1872. 

© Thomas Nast/Library of Congress/Thomas Nast/Library of Congress Victoria Woodhull is often credited as the first woman to run for president. This caricature depicting her as "Mrs. Satan" ran in Harper's Weekly in February 1872. A mother burdened by children and a drunk husband rejects Woodhull's "free love" message, exclaiming, "Get thee behind me, (Mrs.) Satan!" and "I'd rather travel the hardest path of matrimony than follow your footsteps." (Thomas Nast/Library of Congress) 

Part of her column, announcing her candidacy:

  She moved to England in 1877, and  lived long enough to see the 19th Amendment go into effect.

UPDATED: Obesity & Coronavirus19

 From a Reuters story:

Some 97% of those killed by COVID-19 in Louisiana had a preexisting condition, according to the state health department. Diabetes was seen in 40% of the deaths, obesity in 25%, chronic kidney disease in 23% and cardiac problems in 21%.
New Orleans, which so far has reported more than 270 coronavirus deaths, could be a harbinger for the potential toll the pandemic could take in other parts of the South and Midwest that also have high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

And may I point out that Alabama's ranking for all three is near the top?

UPDATE: The Atlantic has an article that carries that theme even further, pointing out that it is younger people in the South who may suffer more from COVID19 because of obesity and other issues.

Not Everyone Wants F-35 Military Jets

From a story in the Madison Wisconsin State Journal newspaper:

"Despite not being able to hear from many residents who wanted to speak, the Madison City Council on Wednesday took a clear stand against placing F-35 jets at Madison’s Truax Field.
During its first-ever virtual meeting — that stretched from Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to Wednesday at 2:50 a.m. — the council adopted an advisory resolution that opposes the fighter jets and calls on the secretary of the Air Force to station them elsewhere. The measure was approved just after 2:30 a.m. on a 13-5 vote, with two absences."

I gravitated to the story for two reasons: First, The Alabama Air National Guard in Montgomery is expecting a squadron of the fighter jets in 2023 (there have been few complaints about noise or anything here.)

     And secondly, my father was posted at Truax Field in Wisconsin for training during WWII. 
     He trained as a aircraft radio operator there. (Army Air Forces Technical School (Radio No. 3), 22 July 1942-1 November 1945. 

(Note the U.S. Air Force did not exist at the point.) 

That's me wearing Dad's Army Air Force radio headphones about 1956. Even then I was a technical wiz: note I am talking into the headphone plug, not a microphone.  

Hey is this thing on????😃

Apr 1, 2020

Recommended online documentary.

"As soon as the dying stopped, the forgetting began..."

Watch a PBS Documentary about the pandemic that the world went through a century ago---in 1918/1919---and then forgot.

"It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic." From the CDC.

 PBS Documentary ONLINE HERE.

New Covid19 Numbers

The number of diagnoses in Alabama hit 2013.

COVID19 Cases in Alabama

The number of confirmed diagnoses in Alabama will pass 1,000 today.

See the live updates State Health Department statistics board HERE

UPDATE: The numbers blasted past 999 to 1013. 

Mar 31, 2020

Another $2-Trillion???

     The president wants the next big money Covid19 package to include $2-Trillion for infrastructure projects.

     That could give Rep. Thomas Massie another opportunity to require members to return to Washington to vote on the record and in person. 

     Today, the Tennessee Republican explained why he did that for the earlier Covid19 relief bill: 

"This is the biggest transfer of wealth in human history..."

...and it very well may be, especially once you add the additional $2-Trillion. 

Media: Is COVID19 The Final Straw for Newspapers?

"...the biggest problem in America isn’t (yet, at least) newspapers going under. It’s ghost papers, strip-mined by ownership, disguised as news sources but actually offering very little in the way of local news or community leadership. The press, whatever its form, finds itself in a classic position: Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way."

                                    From an interesting report by Ken Doctor on the Nieman Lab website. 

Could This Apparent Scam Spread to Alabama?


It appears to be Colorado based right now...the Denver Post reports:

"Police impersonators set up a roadblock on a Colorado highway and stopped drivers to ask why they were out during the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order.
The operation was reported to Greeley police by a woman who said she was stopped around 4:50 a.m. Friday on the Highway 34 business route, between Loveland and Greeley.
She said people wearing yellow vests directed cars into an area marked with traffic cones. Three or four silver cars were parked nearby, some with red and blue flashing lights on their dashboards, Greeley police Cmdr. Rafael Gutierrez said Sunday."

Full Story is HERE.

Now in Kentucky!


One of the Other Alabama Health Crises

We're all preoccupied by CORVID19, understandably, but there are as always other health issues for many Alabamians.

The New Yorker this morning includes an article headlined this way:

A Preventable Cancer Is on the Rise in Alabama

The state’s refusal to expand Medicaid is causing poor women to miss out on lifesaving screenings.

     That won't be news to many Alabama residents, who remember the past two Republican Governors' refusal to expand Medicaid...Robert Bentley (a physician!)...and Kay Ivey (a prominent lung cancer and falling-down patient!) didn't have to worry when they fell sick. They were covered by the State employees health insurance. And both of them had ample resources outside of that insurance anyway.

But for poor Alabamians (Alabama is ranked as the 45th poorest U.S. State) Medicaid is a true safety net. As the article about cervical cancer points out:

"Women who develop cervical cancer in Alabama are more likely to die than their counterparts in any other state—and in recent years Alabama’s mortality rate has been rising.
     In 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report identifying some of the reasons for Alabama’s outlier status. Sex education is not mandated in the public schools, which may help to explain why the state ranks low in H.P.V.-vaccination rates. In small towns and rural areas, the number of doctors and medical facilities has fallen, contributing to the proliferation of a disease that disproportionately affects poor women and women of color. The Human Rights Watch report found that Alabama women without medical insurance routinely delayed getting care, “which, for some, meant that gynecological cancers weren’t found until symptoms developed to more advanced stages."

     I don't know if expanding Medicaid in Alabama now is even possible...that train may have left the station. 
     Especially now that the Government has agreed to spend $2-Trillion to save all of us from the other health emergency.
     But how many people have died since the doctor and the patient became Governors, and declined the treatment Alabama needed to save her citizens' lives?


Mar 30, 2020

Look Closely and maybe you can see my name!

Send Your Name' Placard Attached to Perseverance: A placard commemorating NASA's "Send Your Name to Mars" campaign was installed on the Persevarnce Mars rover. Three silicon chips (upper left corner) were stenciled with 10,932,295 names and the essays from 155 finalists in NASA's "Name the Rover" contest.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

10.9 Million Names Now Aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars Rove...including mine!

And here's my boarding pass: 

Launch is this Summer, with a landing scheduled for February 18, 2021. 



The rover includes a helicopter----it is designed to become the first aircraft to fly on another planet.

Crime & Punishment

     Surprise quote from a police officer in Hoover, after an 18 year old was arrested and charged with robbing three juveniles.

“It’s safe to say that every Hoover police officer is familiar with E.J. Bruce,’’ said Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector. “We deal with him frequently and his involvement in this case is a surprise to no one. The Lorna Road area is safer today because he is in jail.”
                                                                                                           AL.COM story HERE.

Want to Own The Montgomery Advertiser...and 260 Other Newspapers?


As a N.Y. Times columnist writes, you could have done so yesterday, at a bargain price:

"You could, this Sunday, purchase Gannett, the biggest newspaper chain in the country, for a mere $261 million — about a quarter of what Michael R. Bloomberg spent on his presidential campaign."
                                                                           (Ben Smith in the Sunday Times)

We might point out that Gatehouse paid $1.1 Billion for Gannett. 

(For a refresher on the difference between a Million, a Billion and a Trillion's an excellent visualization. It also shows how big the just-passed $2 Trillion Dollar stimulus plan is.)

UPDATE: One of the largest newspaper companies in America on Monday announced massive furloughs and pay cuts across the company due to plummeting advertising revenue in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
                                                                 (Source, a story in The Daily Beast )

Mar 29, 2020

Sundays (The Way They Were--- & Are Again)

     The first night I slept in my Birmingham-area apartment when I moved to Alabama in 1976 (they're now called Elevation Hoover Apartments) , I went to dinner at a restaurant nearby on top of the hill where I-65 and Hwy 31 intersect. (I-65 was unfinished at that point.)

     I knew almost no one, and was eating alone. I ordered and asked for a glass of red wine.

    "Today's Sunday," the waitress sweetly told me, introducing me to "Blue Laws".
     Those were the religious laws enforced by cities and towns in the Deep South back then. No liquor on Sundays, was one of them. I had moved from New York City, where liquor was regulated, but only mildly.

     Meanwhile in Alabama, except for drug stores and grocery stores, everything was closed on Sundays....just as it is this afternoon here in Montgomery, thanks to Coroavirus.

     All of the blue laws gradually changed, as a good story in The Cullman Times noted. 
     But today may as well be March 29, 1976, considering the widespread closings.

Here are the bars and restaurants and shops lining Cloverdale Road in Montgomery at 2:00PM today.

     Not a car parked anywhere. We're not shopping, except at grocery and drug stores (which now at least now sell beer and wine). 

     Back in blue law days you would have to remember to get wine and beer and liquor before Sunday---and cash too, as there were no ATM's. But that's a story for another posting.

Latest Covid19 Victim: North America International Auto Show


      The huge annual show in Detroit has been cancelled. It was to begin in Mid-June and serve as a coming out of sorts for new models from several manufacturers with plants in Alabama...including the only Hyundai plant in the U.S. in Montgomery.

     The decision was apparently a sudden one. The show's website makes no mention of it. It is one of six auto shows Hyundai was or is scheduled to take part in in coming weeks.
     The TCF Center were in was to have occurred is being turned into a temporary hospital for Coronavirus patients.

     The show has been rescheduled for June of 2021. 

     Hyundai was also scheduled to be part of the Alabama Auto Show in Birmingham starting next week...but that show has been postponed:

The Alabama Auto Show will be held postponed from April 2-5, 2020 to June 25-28, 2020. It will feature the 2020 and 2021 model year domestic and import cars, light trucks, SUVs, hybrid vehicles of all sizes, and vans. Vehicles from manufacturers all over the world covering two levels of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.